Posts Tagged ‘the australian’

July 2013

Putin re-embraces repression

The Australian

A FORMER KGB colonel like Vladimir Putin was never expected to be a champion of human rights, but the Russian President has failed to live up to even those reduced expectations. The five-year prison sentence imposed on his most prominent opponent and anti-corruption campaigner, Alexei Navalny, is an indication of the extent to which his clampdown is escalating and of the need for the West to reassess its response ahead of the G20 summit in St Petersburg in September.

Even members of the Kremlin’s so-called human rights council have described the trumped-up embezzlement charges brought against Mr Navalny as “punishment for his political activities”. The relentless campaign aimed at silencing opposition is the harshest crackdown on dissent since the collapse of communism. Days before the conviction of Mr Navalny (who has been released on bail pending appeal), Mr Putin’s determination to wreak vengeance through a servile court system was also evident when Sergei Magnitsky, an eminent human rights lawyer, was posthumously convicted of tax fraud to besmirch his name. Magnitsky had exposed a $US230 million embezzlement scheme benefiting regime officials. He died in jail after being beaten and suffering untreated pancreatitis. Punk band Pussy Riot was imprisoned for staging an anti-Putin stunt, and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once one of Russia’s richest oligarchs and who fell out with Mr Putin, has spent 10 years in jail on charges his critics agree were a travesty of justice.

The Kremlin is using the corrupt court system to provide a veneer of due process and legality for brutal repression as dozens of other activists await sentencing. Mr Putin’s disregard for human rights extends to the supply of weapons to the Syrian regime, which have been used to slaughter tens of thousands of its own people. The fugitive American security contractor Edward Snowden says Russia and Latin American countries that have offered him asylum have his “gratitude and respect for being the first to stand against human rights violations carried out by the powerful rather than the powerless”. Mr Putin’s Russia is no such thing.

Current abuses recall the dark days of Soviet repression and the West must leave the Russian leader in no doubt about its abhorrence. After decades of communist repression, Russians deserve better than blatant corruption, intolerance and authoritarianism. займ срочно без отказов и проверок займ на карту без отказов круглосуточно займы на карту

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